For years I worked in an open plan office, for five days a week, where my daily commute was more than an hour single journey by train.
After much hesitation, I finally decided to treat myself to some nice noise canceling headphones. I settled for the Sony WH-1000XM3, very popular headphones at the time, and I was very happy with them.
The irony is, this was in November 2019. So I only got to enjoy these headphones for a couple of months before the pandemic hit. In the pandemic I first worked from home 5 days per week, and then when we slowly opened the office again, I was there only a couple of days per week and at first preferred to drive in by car over doing the commute by train as before. So I definitely did not use the headphones as much as I thought I would when I bought them!
Also, after some time – I guess about two years or such – the band adjustment mechanism on one side came loose. The plastic snapped. I decided to just fixate that side with some hot glue. It was an ugly solution, but because the other side was still adjustible, the result was still fine.
After some more time the mechanism on the other side also came loose. I tried fixing it with tire wraps, which actually worked for a while, until it did not.
I was disappointed, I had my rather expensive headphones which were now useless, and also beyond repair.
However after a while, I realized that it’s really too bad the headphones were broken, especially because the electronics were still functioning 100% fine, the problen was just with the plastic casing. I thought that while it was not possible for me to fix the plastic easily, there just might be a possiblity that could order a replacement band or case or something.
After searching online, I found that Sony does not offer anything like that, but I found a US company called CentralSound that offers replacement slider parts especially for my Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones (and some other types as well) — it turns out I’m not the only one with this issue! I ordered parts from their website. The package came with proper instructions and tools. I was able to replace the parts within about 10 minutes!
The parts were pretty expensive, especially because I had to pay for shipping from the US to The Netherlands, and had to pay import duties. But still, the repair cost much less than the cost of new headphones, and my SONY headphones are still at this point relatively lightly used.
The plastic of the replacement parts has a slightly different color and texture than the original parts, but that’s not a dealbreaker for me. CentralSound claims the replacement parts are stronger and more durable than the original parts.
I paid 44.99 USD for parts, 17.00 USD for shipping (together around 57 Euros), and 6.08 Euros import duties. So in total the repair cost me a little over 63 Euros. As I said, quite expensive. When I got the XM3 headphones, I paid 248 for them. I looked into replacing my headphones for the newer WH-1000XM4 or XM5 models; they currently cost around 270 or 385 euros.
In my opinion, the repair was definitely worth it! I hope this allows me to get a decent amount of hours from my headphones.
For the WH-1000XM5 Sony switched the design of the headband, and I hope this makes it more durable and does not suffer the issues I had.
It would have been great if Sony would offer parts for their reasonably expensive and not very durable headphones. I really appreciate CentralSound for stepping in this void and offering their own solution.